Boss aims to redefine the headphone guitar amp with the $120 Katana:Go – but has it got enough features to take on its existing competition?

Boss Katana:Go
(Image credit: Boss)

Want a guitar amp you can take anywhere? You're in luck! Blackstar, Positive Grid and Fender all have you covered for starters. Boss even went as far as to integrate the amp into headphones with the Waza-Air. And that was great, but $400. The market has moved firmly into affordable, and Boss now has a potential ace up its sleeve; a mini Katana headphone practice amp called the Katana:Go.

To say the Katana series has been successful is an understatement; multiple millions sold worldwide with amp and effects modelling that has delivered for players on and off-stage. The Katana:Go (yep Positive Grid called its smallest Spark amp the Go too) aims to be your go-anywhere amp. Plug your headphones into it and you're away. But there's more to it than that. A lot more. 

Boss Katana:GO

(Image credit: Boss)

The Katana:Go certainly looks similar to the Fender Micro Mustang, which has had a headstart in stores of a couple of years already. An internal rechargeable battery (offering up to five hours of play), side controls and integrated jack underline that. So why should we be excited about the Go?

Well it's a Katana amp. And that means 10 amp models and a ton of Boss effects, which we know are very good indeed. But Boss has gone further to explore the headphone experience side of things that could really make this one dazzle.

"Advanced spatial technology provides a rich 3D audio experience", says Boss. It's something it's calling Stage Feel and might just win over those of us who aren't very keen on playing guitar through headphones (I'm one).

Presets allow the user to position the amp sound and backing music in different places in the sound field, giving the impression of playing with a backline on stage or jamming in a room with friends

"The innovative Stage Feel feature in Katana:Go provides an immersive audio experience with advanced Boss spatial technology," says Boss. "Presets allow the user to position the amp sound and backing music in different places in the sound field, giving the impression of playing with a backline on stage or jamming in a room with friends."

Now doesn't that sound interesting? It could make those amp models really shine in your cans. On that side, there are clean, crunch, high-gain Brown type models, two acoustic/electric guitar options and – drum roll please – a bass mode with Vintage, Modern, and Flat models ported from Boss's Katana Bass amplifiers

Ok, it seems like Boss has really thought this through and is keen on continuing the great run it had with its 2023 product launches. But we're not done with the Katana:Go yet. There's much more here! 

When you want to go deeper into the editing side – and explore the wide range of modelled Boss effects – there's the Boss Tone Studio app for iOS and Android, and the Tone Exchange to grab inspiration from others' presets, orhsare your own with them. 

It's certainly a compelling package on paper for the $119.99/£120 asking price, founded on proven software and sounds. Another huge selling point for me is that the guitar and bass modes of the Katana:Go offer 30 memories with presets out of the box. Tweak them or leave them as they are of build new presets from scratch. That's a lot of in-built inspiration to get stuck into wherever you find yourself with a guitar.


After Positive Grid's Spark app explored the idea of a learning tool, I'm also pleased to see Boss using its app to allow Katana:Go users to not only build set lists with song tones, but loop sections for learning and even set timestamps and trigger different presets from the Katana:Go, all while playing along with YouTube backing tracks. Who needs pedals? 

Well if you do, there's options too. External control of wah, volume, memory selection, and more is available via the optional Boss EV-1-WL Wireless MIDI Expression Pedal and FS-1-WL Wireless Footswitch.

For a little plugin-in headphone amp there's a lot going on here, so bravo to Boss for pushing this format further. Oh, and in case that wasn't enough, the Katana:Go is also happy to be your USB audio interface for recording. 

Look out for our review soon, or just go ahead and order the Katana:Go at Gear4music, Sweetwater, Andertons and Thomann.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.